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Re: more evil firmwares found

On Mon, 2004-04-12 at 20:10, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> May I repeat that all of the hardware on two different recent machines in
> this house runs *without* requiring non-free firmware downloads?

Is there a point to your bragging?  (You've said that like 4 times in
the past hour.)  Or are you volunteering to buy the rest of us some cool
hardware like that?

Personally, I find it rather odd that there's this tempest in a teapot
over a couple of pieces of firmware when there are far larger matters,
like, say, the non-free GFDL materials or, say, a release to tend to.

And just to forestall the inevitable: the GFDL is a larger problem

- The copyright holders have explicitly withheld permission for certain
modifications.  The copyright holders of some of the firmwares in
question have implicitly granted permission to modify by releasing under
the GPL, they just haven't made it convenient.
- There are only a handful of people in the entire world who could do
anything with the firmware in the first place; there are orders of
magnitude more who could do something useful with the documentation,
were it not released under a non-free license.
- The practical effects of having to use an unmodifiable firmware are
small; the worst is that a driver may have to work around a bug.  The
practical effects of not having modifiable documentation are huge; the
best case is that the documentation continues to be obtuse and hard to
find (hint: good documentation would be available integrated with most
applications; the GFDL makes that generally impossible).

Stephen Ryan <taketwoaspirin@deepthought.dartmouth.edu>

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